My dog Abby and I visited a local hospice weekly for seven years and my experiences there led to the development of an imagined life that invites the reader to explore how someone’s past can never be truly held in the past. The germ of the idea sprang from an intimate death bed chat with a resident. The result is a complete fiction.
At the end of her life, Brenda Leamington, an elderly woman in hospice care in Vancouver, reveals hitherto unshared secrets of her life to Colin, a volunteer grieving his
cherished wife’s passing. Challenged by an institutional prohibition on interfering with the lives of the hospice residents, Colin must decide where his loyalties lie while facing the unrelenting torment of his own grief.
Secrets from our youth can be unearthed with unintended consequences that have the potential to alter, and perhaps shatter, our concept of ourselves and how we are perceived by loved ones. We can’t un-see things, and we can’t undo things, but we can learn from them, while attempting to be become our better selves. At least that is what Brenda strived for all her life, only to be faced with an explosive revelation that shattered the pristine solidity of her family.
Woven into the fabric of the story is how individuals cope with grief and how, until we experience a tremendous loss in one’s life, the overwhelming scope of this emotional beast never becomes fully manifest. But for most of us, it will come – for grief is simply love split into fragments by the refracting lens of loss.